Bus trip: Sit in a cramped seat. Have most irritating person on bus sit next to you, have this person pick fights with other passengers, with the bus driver, try to ignore person but have person try to involve you in their life, or in their religion, or in their personal problems. Have other passengers look at you disparagingly, as if you are somehow acquainted with obese, terrible person, or responsible for his behavior. Wait for person to get out at next stop, for smoking break. Try to sleep but fail. Listen to music on headphones. Forget about reading, now it's dark. Fall asleep listening to music, wake up hearing Jack Kerouac talk about how 'great' the Three Stooges were. Quickly press the 'stop' button. Wait for annoying person to get out at next stop. Have once half-empty bus quickly fill up completely with loud singing children. Have another irritating person sit next to you, preferably another one with a bad smell around them. Have them talk to you about God, about how God saved them from sin. Wait for them to get off at next stop. Have new irritating person sit next to you, preferably an American Indian, who will teach you about how God saved them from alcoholism, and sin, and perhaps they can help you find God for yourself, since you obviously look like you need his help, with your funny hair or clothes. 'You sure do meet some interesting people on a bus.' Nod in disagreement, and wait for person to stop talking to you, get the point, and get off the bus. Have new person sit next to you on bus, one who is an uptight political type, who will attempt to engage you in argument about anarchy versus organized government. Have overly nosey person refuse to let you out of a conversation you're clearly not interested in having. Discover you like the same foods, that you're both vegetarians. Become easily confused. Get off bus early in morning, earlier than you ever get up in your normal life. Go into bus station diner, drink weak coffee, and eat bad food served by angry dyke waitress. Watch old people wasting away into their weak coffee. Smell yourself. two days without bathing, on a hot bus, who wouldn't want to sit next to you? Who is the most irritating person on the bus now?

To Iowa (X 3), By Bus, A Brief Interlude

I had to go to Davenport, Iowa for court dates. I didn't live in Iowa, nor did I have a car. I had to take the bus three different times in the year, often at night, and then after pulling in to the station early in the morning, I would sit in the station as the sun came up, and wait to walk five blocks or so over to the courthouse. By the third trip there, which culminated in a ridiculous, almost 14 hour wait for a bus to finally arrive to take me back to Chicago, I had decided I never wanted to step foot in Iowa ever again. That morning of the third trip, I wrote the following in my journal:

It has come to my attention, that everybody in Davenport, Iowa, except for 10 people or so, and all the bus drivers (which is in question actually) are either retarded, or crippled, or in some way both. This does not include the man who, at precisely 6:00 a.m. had a very loud, screaming, gurgling seizure upon the floor, rather matter-of-fact, in front of three bus drivers, who told the forth, "Oh, so-and-so's just havin' a seizure."

"Another?" they asked.


It has also come to my attention that everyone seems to take pride in wearing shirts, hats, or jackets that advertise Iowa. Iowa is not, from this vantage point, an amusing place, like Hard Rock Cafe, but merely just a state: Iowa. Iowa, to expand upon the B-52s, must be a state of mind or something. A very distanced, unfocused sort of mind, a kind of unclear mind, not even quite real. A figment of mind.

Run away, it's Iowa.

- Forestter Cobalt